The NBA has announced an exciting new partnership with Sony Sports to bring Hawk-Eye technology to the league. This advanced system will follow players and the ball to assist with calls such as out-of-bounds and goaltending and will be implemented starting in the 2023-24 NBA season.
Initially, referees will use Hawk-Eye to review calls, but the long-term goal is to have the system make calls automatically, without the need for referee input. This would be similar to how Hawk-Eye replaced line judges entirely in tennis at the Australian Open and U.S. Open.
Hawk-Eye technology is not new to sports, as it is already used in soccer for goal-line technology and was recently utilized at the 2022 FIFA World Cup to determine offside calls more efficiently. The introduction of this system to the NBA is expected to have several benefits for fans, including an improvement in the accuracy and speed of calls made during games.
Lengthy reviews can significantly impact the flow of a game, particularly toward the end, and Hawk-Eye is expected to help address this issue. In other sports where this technology is already in use, calls that previously took minutes to review can now be made in seconds. While it may not eliminate every lengthy stoppage, the introduction of Hawk-Eye technology is certainly progress in the right direction.
In addition to improving the accuracy and speed of calls, Hawk-Eye will also have an analytics component. The system will provide “virtual game recreations” using data derived from player and ball tracking, as well as the ability to generate automated graphics using these stats.
“We view it as a real privilege to partner with the NBA – a truly iconic global brand and a leader in innovative sports content,” said Rufus Hack, CEO of Sony’s Sports Businesses. “We look forward to helping them unlock the power of data to continue to enhance officiating and basketball analytics, as well as to drive new immersive fan experiences.”
“We are thrilled to partner with Sony’s Sports Businesses to leverage Hawk-Eye’s cuttingedge 3D optical tracking data,” said Evan Wasch, EVP of Basketball Strategy & Analytics, NBA. “This data will enhance our officiating, power significant insights for our teams, and create a dynamic data set that will improve our game and enable unique engagement opportunities for NBA fans.”